Painting the Elsewhere

There is a particular kind of loneliness in moving from country to country. Whether the time spent away spans months, or years, or the rest of one’s life; there is a moment sometime between stepping foot on the sidewalk outside the airport and sitting down in the room that will become home but isn’t yet, when displacement turns from abstraction into a physical weight. I’m here. What does here mean?

I moved to Scotland from Hungary in 2013. I came here for university, but also to escape the economical and societal uncertainties of home I barely understood at the time. I found my place here in the years that passed: in the country and within the academic structure that seemed so incomprehensible when I first arrived. I explored some of the Highlands. I petted cows, ate a deep-fried Mars bar on one memorable occasion, and resigned myself never to eat proper bakery products until Christmas rolled around again. I am—for all intents and purposes—home here.

None of this makes me any less alien.

The images you see in this gallery are reflections of this loneliness. They are made of the years I spent building a place here, and the visceral memory of a June morning in 2016, the internet full of Brexit headlines. Art is how I process both alienation and hope. I paint it, I write it. I talk about painting it, I talk about writing it; and I hope that this practice—the physical movement of drawing colour on an empty canvas and spinning it into words in parallel—will eventually help me make sense of it all: myself, the world, and my always-shifting and never permanent place in its turning.

Fruzsina Pittner

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